University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


OCG in the Field: Ft De Soto

Ft De Soto

Ft De Soto

Blog post by Brooke Loney, Emily Ritz, and Makenna Martin with photos provided by OCG Staff.

The Oceanography Camp for Girls firmly believes that the best classroom is in nature! This week was no exception as our campers were thrown into the salt, sand, and sun during their first few days of camp. Our day at Fort De Soto county park was one of three field trips in which the girls were able to experience real science in its purest form.

Campers collected field data under the supervision of our science mentors at three different locations throughout the park: a mangrove swamp, sea grass beds, and an open water beach. 

Learning about the different types of sea grasses

Learning about the different types of sea grasses

At each site, the girls analyzed the water quality, nutrient concentration of the water, identified and discussed adaptations of local vegetation, compared the constituents of sediment cores, monitored the environmental conditions, and used a seine net to catch fish for species and population analysis. These different analyses helped the girls understand the way biology, geology, and chemistry can differ between habitats. 

Our field work is designed to allow girls to use deductive reasoning along with their senses (which sometimes even includes taste!) to learn about the environment and then apply that knowledge to the different locations.

After several shoes became causalities of the muddy mangrove swamp, everyone’s cheeks pink with the sun, OCG campers returned to USF after a successful and fun filled day of field science!

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Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.